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Education instead of racism

27 September 2011, 13:15  - Mark
Being a 30-year-old white male South African, I was born into a country where the remnants of apartheid were drawing to an end and I witnessed the transformation of a country into the so-called “Rainbow Nation”.

I watched as a hero by the name of Nelson Mandela championed our beloved country into reconciliation with a view that all South Africans, regardless of colour should be treated equally. While many were sceptical most were eventually astonished at how Mandela seemed to have achieved his goal. South Africa was for the first time at peace and united we stood. I had witnessed history on an international scale.

For a while it seemed that our country was destined for greatness, I felt safe, I even felt patriotic (perhaps for the first time), I did the small things like celebrate sport events with fellow South Africans, whites, blacks, coloured and Indians alike (our colours made no difference), we were united and it felt fantastic. I had black friends, whom I had genuine affection and respect for. I supported the ANC’s move for change, for a better South Africa for all.

What went wrong and how did it happen so fast?

It seems these days Mandela’s dream has been reduced to a mere echo in the distance.

I look around at today’s South Africa and I witness more racism on both sides of the fence than I think has ever existed before (even during apartheid). During apartheid it was in fact a minority of whites that genuinely harboured hatred towards blacks for whatever reason, while the majority simply went about their daily lives as long as they weren’t directly affected (which in itself was naturally also completely wrong), though the point I am making is that contrary to popular believe, most whites were not hardened racists back then (this is also partly the reason why a referendum was eventually signed to end Apartheid). However, it seems to be changing rapidly, anger and frustration is rife on both sides these days whites being racist to blacks, blacks being racist to whites and even people born into the new “Rainbow Nation” are becoming hardened racists.

From a white perspective it seems to stem from the feeling of being a minority under constant attack by the majority. Things like our education system rapidly failing, crime spiralling out of control, BEE and AA being strengthened rather than relaxed after being in effect for so long already, talks of land grabs without pay, the ANCYL (and others) singing hatred songs of murdering white people and the government itself defending this, talks of nationalisation of our mines and banks (even when there is so much proof that such concepts end in failure), labelling of all whites as criminals, constant strikes and riots, the breaking down of our public service sectors, constantly being blamed for all the majorities short-comings – even to those who weren’t born into that past.

From a black perspective it seems to stem mostly from poverty and frustration and the fact that despite so many years of the ANC being in power, very few of the ANC’s promises of jobs, homes and general empowerment have being realised by the masses. Though it seems instead of focusing on the ANC as the real failure point, the blame for this is somehow directed and placed squarely at the white man’s feet (using the now famous “apartheid excuse”) and naturally as long as the ANC isn’t the one being blamed, they seem to be encouraging this. Which leads the majority to believe that they are poor only because of whites and thus breads hatred towards them.

Why are the masses not able to improve their lifestyle even with BEE, AA, land reform and so many other special benefits and grants afforded to them? Even when government gives away free land some have simply opted to sell the land back to the previous owners. How is this empowering the black population? I believe that the root cause of all these issues and thus the main solution too many of South Africa’s problems is simply education!

If our government could stop pushing racist agendas through their ANCYL mouth-piece and pie-in-the-sky talks of nationalisation as a means of distraction to the real problems we face, stop wasting vast amounts of money on ridiculous charter planes, Swazi bail-outs and so forth and instead focus as much money and attention on fixing one thing in South Africa, that being Education, we would all be better off. Equip the masses with the skills to “catch their own fish” rather than simply feed the odd fish to the odd person and everyone will be able to eat.

Malema is such a wonderful tool that the ANC could use for “good” rather than allowing him to spread hate. The people listen to him and that is something that should be harnessed. Malema can and should be used to spread motivation rather than disruption. Instead of singing struggle songs that were from an era that existed long before Malema, he should be pushing his followers to educate themselves as much as possible - this is true empowerment.

It is my opinion that due to the total lack of education in the mass majority of blacks (and the apparent lack of motivation thereof) our country is suffering. Lack of education leads directly to poverty and poverty leads to frustration, which begins that dark cycle of anger. Blacks are unhappy because they are poor, but they blame the whites for this and so does the government. Government is trying to fix poverty by simply taking from the whites and giving to the blacks, by forcing BEE, AA and land grabs and providing many other benefits only BEE candidates qualify for instead of simply focusing on education and allowing the masses to enrich themselves; a far more rewarding and sustainable ideal.

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